Our runner-by-runner guide to the 2020 Epsom Derby
Michael Johnson | 1 July 2020
In-depth preview of the field as we mark out key runners in the classic.
With the Epsom Derby and the Investec Oaks both taking place on Saturday, it’s set to be one of the biggest days in racing history.
Irish trainer Aiden O’Brian is looking to make sure his name is in the history books too, as he looks to become an eight-time winner of the Derby.
With seven horses in the field, he has a good chance of that, but they’ll have to best the favourite English King, who was victorious in the Derby Trial at Lingfield back in June, along with the fancied Kameko.
You can watch the action live on ITV from 16:55 on Saturday, but be sure to clue yourself in first with our guide to the runners, before you check out the latest odds.
English King – Trainer: Ed Walker
Will look to follow the example of last year’s winner Anthony Van Dyck, who followed Derby Trial success with victory in last year’s Derby.
With Frankie Dettori riding and few concerns about whether he has the stamina, English King is favourite here, although there are some questions over whether he has what it takes to win a Classic.
Kameko – Trainer: Andrew Balding
After winning the 2,000 Guineas, Kameko boasts two Group One wins, both in record times and going on form he should be a threat here.
The only concern really is whether the step-up in trip could find his stamina wanting come the final few furlongs.
Mogul – Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
Suffered at Ascot in the King Edward VII, though perhaps due to poor preparation as much as anything. Mogul otherwise has a promising record, with a Group Two win at Leopardstown and a decent run when finishing fourth in the Vertem Futurity.
While there’s still promise here, Ascot has left a question mark over whether Mogul has what it takes to claim a Classic.
Russian Emperor – Trainer : Aidan O’Brien
Came from behind to claim the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot, showing improvement in recent runs and looks particularly well-suited to enjoy the step-up to a mile and a half.
With a third run in under four weeks, it’s hoped that Russian Emperor will be peaking going into the Derby rather than fatigued.
Vatican City – Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
Bred from Derby-winning stock in the form of sire Galileo, Vatican City’s most promising performance to date saw him finish a close second to Siskin in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.
Questions again here whether the step-up in trip will suit, with all three siblings excelling over shorter distances.
Highland Chief – Trainer: Paul & Oliver Cole
With only four runs to his name, he comes into this race as something of an unknown quantity, but with promise that has seen him backed heavily enough to see odds shortened significantly in the ante-post betting.
A victory in the Golden Gates Handicap at Royal Ascot from off the pace suggests the stamina is there, but there are still several question marks over whether this is the right race to showcase his talents.
Pyledriver – Trainer: William Muir
Potentially one to watch, following victory in the King Edward VII at Royal Ascot. Experienced compared to most rivals here and with plenty of staying power, the main worry is that he’s not suited to the Epsom track, after struggling on the Royal Lodge last season.
Armory – Trainer: Aiden O’Brian
Another sired by Derby winner Galileo, Armory showed plenty of form last year, culminating in victory in the Group Two Futurity Stakes along with two places against Group One opposition.
May be better suited to a shorter run and there is a suggestion that he may instead head to Sunday’s French Derby.
Mohican Heights – Trainer: David Simcock
Came third to Pyledriver in the King Edward VII at Royal Ascot and will need to show a big improvement on that performance to challenge here. Previously fancied after an unbeaten juvenile career and comes from a pedigree known for both stamina and getting better with age.
Khalifa Sat – Trainer: Andrew Balding
Considered a strong stayer with plenty of stamina but may lack the speed to compete over 1m 4f, despite a bright start to his career. Two runs at Goodwood have demonstrated plenty of promise, including a victory in the Cocked Hat stakes.
Serpentine – Trainer: Aiden O’Brien
Another bred from sire Galileo and performed admirably at the Curragh last weekend over the mile and quarter track, winning by nine lengths. The step up in class may see him lost in the chasing pack, though stamina is unlikely to be an issue.
Emissary – Trainer: Hugo Palmer
Unproven at this level, yet did well to finish second behind Khalifa Sat in the Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood. His half-brother Workforce was a 2010 Derby Winner and the trip could suit, but the Derby is a big ask for an inexperienced horse.
Worthily – Trainer: John Gosden
Came in off the pace in an impressive debut win at Newbury just three weeks ago, but it’s a huge jump in class in such a short space of time for another inexperienced ride.
Max Vega – Trainer: Ralph Beckett
Victory in the Group Three Zetland Stakes and third in the Berkshite Rocco has some commenters questioning the long odds here, but a poor showing in Kempton’s Classic Trial should explain that.
Nonetheless, it’s thought the trip should suit and if the running is soft, he could exceed expectations.
Mythical – Trainer: Aiden O’Brien
Ran in Group One company in France, after impressing at Gowram last year, but came up lame in a Group Three run at Curragh and has been twice beaten when odds-on to win.
Amhran Na Bhfiann – Trainer: Aiden O’Brien
A twice-raced maiden who has been used as a pacemaker previously, it’s a big step up, with the last maiden to win the Derby coming all the way back in 1886.
Gold Maze – Trainer: Jessica Harrington
Another who remains a maiden after being well held into sixth in the Irish Derby last time out.
He was too keen at the Curragh and off the back of a quick turnaround, he’s likely to struggle.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication